Survivor: Panama - Exile Island Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
February 16, 2006
Previously on Survivor, the season began with a quartet of quartets. The teams were divided into older men, younger men, older women and younger women. Instantly, the older women took issue with the "crone" tag, but three of the four older men didn't care. The holdout, though, had just quit smoking the day before, so he hates everything. Especially living on the island, immunity challenges, and people. The only cast member who stood out didn't say much. They call him Bruce and we're hoping he'll fill the void that has surrounded us ever since Mr. Miyagi passed away.
In the early going, the women struggled against the men, with the young women losing the initial reward challenge. This loss forced them to send one of their members to spend a night at Exile Island – hence the reason why this season is subtitled Exile Island. Then, at the immunity challenge, the older ladies lost and decided that they would solve all their problems by voting out their strongest member, a mouthy lumberjill (you heard us) named Tina. Why do the awesome professions always get voted off early? We're still lamenting the loss of Dolly the Sheep Farmer to this very day.
Pssst...hey, Shane. Wanna cigarette?
Right on cue, the episode begins with Shane bitching. Nobody told him there was gonna be weather on this adventure. Wait a minute, though. We seem to have spoken too soon as we see that Shane has a leg to stand on. Lightning strikes very close by and he flees the camera, though we certainly can't blame him since it's not wise to stand near electrical equipment in such conditions.
Here's the bad news for the other tribes. The older men have the good shelter. The younger men, on the other hand, are huddled together wishing that they might be able to find a Home Depot in the vicinity – or maybe that the sherpa from a couple of seasons back would show up. Then, as morning breaks, we see the older women unsuccessfully trying to ignite a fire. Here's a thought. Perhaps if you had voted off the woman who is afraid of leaves instead of the one who was doing the majority of the work around camp, you might have flames right now. Finally, we quickly cut to the young ladies, who are contentedly dining on some papaya.
After those brief interludes, we return to Shane's ongoing mental breakdown. He takes some time to consider some things he should have thought about, oh, a month ago, as he suddenly realizes he's plenty financially solvent and has family he misses desperately. Apparently his son has a football game during the upcoming weekend, and Shane thinks it would be swell to be sitting in the crowd, smoking, rather than out in the middle of nowhere, starving. The 15,000 contestants who really wanted to be on the show but didn't make it gnash their teeth in disgust.
It's Probst-y time! And hey, would you look at that! We're already going back from four tribes to two. He has all of the contestants go stand on some discs, and when they flip them over, their new tribes are revealed, rendering last week's tribe split utterly useless (as well as any alliances that might have been made). The new groups are determined in schoolyard team-picking fashion. Captains Barry and Danielle will pick for their new tribes, La Mina and Casaya, respectively. Danielle's first choice is "cool guy" Shane. A nation laughs at her poor taste in men. It is imperative that Danielle's friends set her up on her dates from here on out. In the end, we come to realize that we hate everyone on both teams, as the last person picked is our beloved Bruce. These are the same type of people who drafted Ryan Leaf. But wait! It turns out that he is the only person who will be immune at the next Tribal Council. He'll spend the next three days at Exile Island, which basically means that he gets a lovely vacation from the idiots who just cast him aside. Three days alone seems like a cakewalk for this guy. We suspect by the time it's over, he'll have a free HBO setup for the rest of the tribe. Deadwood, baby!
The tribe division is as follows:
Casaya consists of Aras, Bobby, Cirie, Courtney, Danielle, Melinda and Shane. La Mina's members are Austin, Dan, Misty, Nick, Ruth Marie, Sally and Terry. Bruce is, of course, a free agent for the moment.
The reward challenge seems to have something to do with the celebration of Whacking Day, as the tribes must wrangle snakes that they find while they traverse an obstacle course. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), the snakes are made of wood, so there's no danger of anyone being either bitten by poison fangs or constricted. There are several different stations, including a platform to climb, a ladder, an underwater portion, and a pile of leaves. La Mina wins the challenge, which means they walk away with a pile of fishing equipment. They can't all wash up on the beach like they did at the older women's camp last week.
This is the time on Survivor when we re-integrate. You only need one friend to be okay in a tribe of four, but you need three to handle a tribe of seven. A couple of these people don't strike us as having the ability to make three friends in their lives (hi, Shane!). After being described as the "cool guy" once, Shane instantly believes he is the hippest stud this side of Brad Pitt. He's just figuring out who his Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie are out of the hotties. He openly acknowledges what we mentioned in passing last week. When he was solely amongst older guys, he was grumpy and wanted to leave. Now that there are some pretty girls around, he's like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. It's amazing what chicks in bikinis can do to a man's constitution.
Now that everyone is secure about the fact that they are part of a tribe for at least the next ten days or so, the usual alliance negotiations ensue. Cirie and Melinda have done the math, and realize that it sucks to be an "old crone". Courtney, Danielle and Shane decide that the three of them, along with Aras, are going to be the final four of the game, thereby eliminating our need to watch the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, over at Camp La Mina, the astronaut, the pilot, and young guys Nick and Austin discuss a potential alliance. We don't want to give away what happens or anything, but Nick and Austin can choose between either two old guys or two pretty young girls. Who do you think they're going to pick?
Exile Island shows Bruce proving to us that there are 14 Survivors too many. He gets in his day's martial arts practice, adds up some clues about the location of the hidden immunity idol, and suffers through a rainstorm. He's doing better than anyone else would, but he does state that he wouldn't wish this on his worst enemy.
Now is the time on Survivor where one contestant screws up so badly, we wonder if they'll even make it through the night. La Mina has one set of fishing gear, which was hard-earned, and we have one polka-dot-bikini-wearing blonde. Sally tries a "practice shot" with the spear, which we're going to call unsuccessful. She manages to bury the spear 40 feet deep in the water. Somewhere several thousand miles away, Rupert growls. The tribe members are polite about her faux pas, but what they're really thinking is, "If there's a Tribal Council vote tonight, I'm safe." The fighter pilot and the astronaut (which sounds like the greatest Don Knotts movie never made) just have to walk away and give her a look that says, "We totally should have chosen Cirie."
Probst shows up, wearing a kicky hat. He could wipe the floor with that bitchy nerd from American Idol. But we digress. As he questions the tribes, Shane continues his long spiral of self-destruction. He gripes about how horrible the conditions are, whines about his health (and that of his teammates) and discusses the terrible morale of the troops. This is one guy who won't be writing the next Gettysburg Address. On the plus side, this sort of behavior is proving to his teammates that he's the kind of guy who cannot be relied upon. Sure, it took them an afternoon longer than it should have, but they seem to be caught up to speed now.
Today's immunity challenge will have the teams transporting a giant zombie head from a platform out in the water to the shore. They'll have to take it into a boat that is tethered to the bottom of the ocean by a heavy box that serves as anchor. Someone must drag the anchor to shore, while the boat above is full of holes, which means other tribe members have to bail it out. Both teams struggle quite a bit, but eventually the strength of guys like Terry and Austin gets La Mina to shore first, and they're immune for the next couple of days. Casaya, however, must eliminate a member.
Unbelievable Survivor moment #1: Shane asks to be voted off.
Unbelievable Survivor moment #2: Some of the girls try to talk him out of it.
Of course, the real reason Courtney is trying to keep him around can be attributed to her sense of self-preservation. She can't be forced to do a lot of thinking when there are dead turtles to be mourned. Courtney has made her alliance, and that's the end of it.
Alas, Aras somehow convinces Shane, who wants nothing more than to go smoke several packs of cigarettes, that he should stay. At this point, Aras, who you might remember as the weird freak who did the hand power thing in the first episode, goes to the tribe and attempts to talk about which member will be eliminated first. He's trying to be honest and touchy feely, but all he accomplishes is hurting the people who he names as targets. As for Shane, he continues to try to out-crazy himself, telling Cirie and Melinda that they'll be the next two people voted out at Tribal Council. Although his "alliance" members realize that he's probably not the kind of person they want to be involved with, they stay the course for some reason. Even during Tribal Council, Shane tells Probst how miserable he is and that he wishes he could be going home, but we know how this is going to play out. The instantly hateable guy will stay, and the girl who lives 40 miles away from us in Pigeon Forge, TN is headed home. With Melinda gone, Cirie's position is in jeopardy as well, but even worse is the fact that Bruce has now been forced to join this dysfunctional crew. We have concerns about his long-term future.